Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy New Year?

Does it seem a little late for a New Year's Party?

In some places in Asia, they celebrate the New Year according to the Chinese calendar. They base it on the lunar cycle, so it doesn't line up with our western calendar.

Our friend Ping, from Taiwan, decided to throw a New Year's party. We had fun and good food.


It's Sakura time!

Sakura is Japanese for Cherry Blossom.
This particular tree blooms with brilliant pinks and whites.
They only last a few weeks, so it is a special time.
Of course in Okinawa they come a little early.
The rest of Japan has to wait until spring.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Emi turns 1...again!

So you know how everyone always says, "Well, you only get 1 (fill-in-the-blank). Well it doesn't always hold true. Emi had her birthday in December, but being just a week shy of Christmas it was a very busy time for everyone.

So, we decided to postpone her "real" party until January -- last night, in fact. We are so blessed to have met so many good people here in Okinawa. Many of them were able to come and celebrate with us.
God has truly been taking care of us here: we have a decent place to live, we eat well, we are able to work, and we are relatively free of diseases and illness.

We are thankful for the many blessings and friends here. We are especially thankful for Emi -- a daily burst of sunshine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


What is Fukuwarai?

It's a Japanese children's game.
It's like pin the tail on the donkey,
but you make a face.

I use the game for English class.
One team member is blindfolded
and the others give directions
(up, down, left, right, turn, okay).

Fukuwarai means "happy laugh" in Japanese
and it is easy to see why -- there are some silly
faces made.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Emi Gets Dedicated

Today at church, Emi was dedicated to the Lord.

We take this practice from the Old Testament. Hannah wanted very much to have a child, but she was barren. She prayed for a miracle and made a vow that if God would give her a child, she would then dedicate this child to the Lord. Of course, she had a son, named Samuel.

Part of the idea of dedicating a child is for others to hold you accountable; are you training your child in the ways of God?

Emi is a joy and blessing in our life.

She did cry when Pastor held her though.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Chicken or the Egg?

Well, here's an interesting story.

We are often surprised by people's generosity (isn't it a shame it is something of an oddity?). Especially so, when it is a non-christian that does it. We were surprised the other day by one of our neighbors, whom we have not yet met. What surprised us was that she had brought us some goodies for the New Year. She gave us some chicken and some mochi. The mochi had to be eaten pretty soon, so we ate it that day. The chicken we put in the freezer for another day.

Well, "another day" was today. So I pull out these chicken wings, whip up a sauce and throw them in the oven. After an hour in the oven, we were quite surprised to find the meat was still pink. Well, back in the oven it went, but it came out the same -- still pink! After two more tries with the microwave this time, it was still pink.

That was when we decided to have a closer look. It turns out that these were "special" chicken wings. They were chicken on the outside, but the inside was filled with mentaiko, which is fish eggs (yes, they are pink). They surely have some strange, I mean, unique foods here.

We verified this finally by READING the packaging they came in. It sure does help if you read the package first.

Anyway, it was an interesting, and delicious, dinner.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Well, Happy New Year to everyone.
Or as they say in Japanese, akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.

New Year's is the biggest holiday in Japan. Almost everything is closed for three days so people can go on their yearly visits to family members. It is a time of great merriment with lots of food and drinking.

Here we are visiting with Debe's Aunt and Uncle and Cousins.
They couldn't believe that Emi liked the "dreaded" natto.
Of course, all Pallmanns eat any and everything.

For kids it is especially exciting. They receive Otoshidama, or New Year's money from all their aunts, uncles, friends and any relation really. They make out pretty well too, as the gifts are anywhere from $10 - $100.
Emi even got from one of Debe's students.

Here is Debe's uncle Yoshio offering Otoshidama to Emi. You can just make out the bill in front of the oranges.

Finally, did you know that in Japan it is not only the year 2006? It is also Year 18 of the current Emperor, and it is also the year of the dog (from the Chinese calendar).